Friday 21st

Another 37 Red Kites drifted northwards overhead today. Barely a day goes by without at least a handful of Kites. Certainly this spring has seen a record total for Sandwich Bay.

Thursday 20th

Two smart Grey Plovers on Worth were probably the best of a quiet day. Mediterranean Gulls continue to be seen (and heard) flying around overhead whilst a high-flying Jay headed south over the Observatory early on; a strange time of year to be migrating?

Wednesday 20th

A stroll along Royal Cinque Port Golf Course to the Chequers and back along Mary Bax was nice in the early morning sun, before things got too hot. There were singing Corn Buntings and small flocks of recently-fledged Starlings. The daily raptor movement then began mid-morning with at least 18 Red Kites, 15 Buzzards, three Hobbies, five Kestrels, and two Marsh Harriers on show.

Mediterranean Gull May20 JBuckingham

Mediterranean Gull by J.Buckingham

Tuesday 19th

There were 12 Mediterranean Gulls hawking over the Estate in the morning. As temperatures rose so did the calibre of bird with a female Red-footed Falcon over Worth which zipped off inland over the Great Wood, followed swiftly by a Honey-buzzard which was tracked heading north along the railway line towards the Green Wall.

Monday 18th

With today’s heat it really felt like summer was upon us. With the easing of lockdown restrictions on exercising we were able to conduct the first WeBS count for a few months across New Downs, Pegwell Bay, and the Point. A Spotted Redshank was the best in Pegwell and nine Mediterranean Gulls were spread around the area. A Wheatear was on New Downs and a pair of Herring Gulls were nesting on the north pool, a first for the site (though they breed on the adjacent Discovery Park).

Reed Bunting May20 JBuckingham

Reed Bunting by J.Buckingham

Sunday 17th

The two Great Crested Grebes mentioned on Wednesday were still on New Downs and even did a little displaying to each other on the reservoir. Meanwhile there was a late Siskin on the Estate and another Honey-buzzard flew over the Green Wall in the evening.

Great Crested Grebe May20 PBlanche

Great Crested Grebes by P.Blanche

Saturday 16th

An Arctic Skua was seen offshore early in the morning and a lovely summer-plumaged Golden Plover flew low cross the Estate calling as it went. Over on Worth and a Honey-buzzard and four Red Kites flew north.

Friday 15th

For a while i thought the two lingering Barnacle Geese on Worth marshes were going to be the highlight of the day but once the thermals got going so did overhead migration with a White Stork, a Red Kite and 24 Buzzards all moving through.

Wednesday 13th

A much quieter day buffeted by strong winds. There were lots of hirundines sheltering in the lee of the Great Wood on Worth and there were two Great Crested Grebes on New Downs reservoir. For the last few years there’s been the odd sighting of them there in spring and summer but no sign of any breeding yet, presumably they’re just prospecting pairs. Later, whilst going through the night’s nocmig recording at Stonar, a Nightjar was identified calling overhead.

Tuesday 12th

Another good walk to the outer reaches of New Downs with 75 species logged. Waders were represented on the pools by Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, three Curlews, five Redshanks, three Greenshanks, one Green Sandpiper and eight Common Sandpipers. A Nightingale was singing on the Sampher and singles of Sand Martin and Wheatear were seen. A Siskin flying over was very late, perhaps it is breeding nearby? A calling Water Rail also suggests breeding activity too. A Honey-buzzard and eight Mediterranean Gulls went north whilst meanwhile on Worth marshes there were another seven Common Sandpipers, the Temminck’s Stint, and over 150 Swifts.

In light of the recent Government announcement there have been a number of queries regarding access to our reserves. The Trustees have reviewed the situation and have decided for the safety of our employees and all our members to keep all our reserves and facilities closed for the time being. Rest assured, we are monitoring the situation and will be open as soon as we can do so safely.

Sunday 10th

A Golden Oriole was in The Elms at dawn. However, the wind picked up rapidly and wasn’t noted again. Later there were tallies of 88 Swifts, 76 House Martins, and 22 Swallows, many of which were using the lee of the trees for feeding. A Coal Tit was on the Green Wall.

Saturday 9th

The fine weather continues to be good for watching the skies. A morning spent logging Red Kites ended up with a minimum of 39 individuals going north, almost a record count for Sandwich Bay, as well as an Osprey and 12 Mediterranean Gulls. Meanwhile the two Barnacle Geese (of probably dubious origin) and Temminck’s Stint were still on Worth marshes, an Egyptian Goose was on New Downs, and 15 Greenshanks were in Pegwell.

Friday 8th

There was a small arrival of waders on Worth marshes this morning with two Avocets, one Ruff, four Greenshanks, three Little Ringed Plovers, and seven Common Sandpipers, plus the two Barnacle Geese and Temminck’s Stint still present. Overhead at least 25 Red Kites went north.

Thursday 7th

Two Barnacle Geese were an odd sight on Worth marshes this morning. They quickly moved on only to return again later in the day. There was a steady passage of Red Kites overhead with at least eight individuals. However, late in the day a superb Temminck’s Stint was discovered on Worth marshes.

Wednesday 6th

Despite the bright and clear conditions there was still passage noted overhead with six Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier, a Whimbrel, 25 Swifts, three Sand Martins, and five Yellow Wagtails going over. There were seven Greenshanks and five Cuckoos on Worth, with the latter showing particularly well chasing each other around, and a Curlew Sandpiper in Pegwell.

Monday 4th

A cold north-easterly breeze produced the best sea passage for some while with 30 Bar-tailed Godwits, 18 Whimbrels, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, four Arctic Terns, two Common Terns, eight Little Terns, and a Shag. Overhead movement was good too with a Spoonbill and two Yellow Wagtails over and a steady stream of Swifts and Swallows, totalling 450 and 200 respectively. Adding to the mix were three Yellow-legged Gulls among a throng of large gulls and four Wheatears on the Estate. News from Worth marshes was also good with an exceptional arrival of 13 Turtle Doves.

Sunday 3rd

This morning saw good numbers of singing Corn Buntings, a handful of Whimbrels, a few Wheatears, and ten Cuckoos spread through the Recording Area. At the Point 59 Sanderlings were just coming into summer plumage whilst on New Downs a Garden Warbler was singing and the drake Garganey was still present.

Common Shore Crab May20 SZW

Common Shore Crab at the Point by S.Walton

Saturday 2nd

The weather continues to be very unpredictable with bright sunshine one minute and rain showers the next. Three Hobbies and 41 Swifts were fighting for airspace over Worth, where five Little Egrets also flew over heading north. An Egyptian Goose flew over the Estate and a Turtle Dove was on the Green Wall. Also of note was a Tawny Owl recorded calling overnight at the Observatory.